The tip-off was when Defense Secretary Ash Carter said that Iraqi forces had no will to fight in Ramadi when ISIS moved in. Followed closely by Secretary of Personality John Kerry’s meeting with Iranian diplomats towards the end of May.
The administration needs to present the impression that Iraq’s military doesn’t want to fight. That’s why they claimed that Iraqis defending Ramadi weren’t units the US had trained.
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Blame must be passed to Iraq with no hint of American fingerprints evident. The administration is also one in feverish search for a legacy.
Keep in mind that search has reached feverish proportions because Barack Obama is lazy. He described himself that way and no challenge here to his claim. He’s lazy. He said it. That’s how it is. Period.
Obama is rushing around trying to make something become his legacy. As a far leftist, he’s dabbled in police policy, Bergdahl, climate change, and other line items on the progressive agenda in his quest to find something that reflects positively on his eight years in office. One of those line items — a holy grail of sorts for the left — is making amends with Iran.
The left has long been infatuated with the idea of normalizing US-Iran relations. Sure, they cite the Mossadegh affair from the 1950s and they deliberately redact key portions of it when they use it to bolster their blame America first agenda. In equal measure they purposely omit 1979, the US embassy takeover, and the 444 days Iran held US embassy staff hostage. Same can be said for US hostages held in Lebanon during the 1980s by Iranian surrogates as well as half a dozen or so Americans currently imprisoned in Iran.
Making up with Iran then is an extension of the left’s visceral hatred of American power. Restore ties with Iran they think, and America is thus fed some humility in the process.
Iran on the other hand would love nothing more than to extend it’s dominion over as much of Iraq as it can. There are historical and cultural reasons for this. Iraq is majority Shia just like Iran. Many key Shia shrines are located in Iraq. Iran’s Khuzistan Province, which borders Iraq, is largely Arab (Iran is majority Persian), and Iran needs a connection with the Arab world. Iran faces competition from Sunni — primarily Arab — extremists, jockeying for the lead role in re-establishing a transnational theocratic state. It’s helpful then for Iran to bridge the Arab-Persian divide (which is both lingual, cultural, and historic) so that it’s theocratic product isn’t crowded out by Sunni offerings such as ISIS.
Make no mistake, iran already has considerable influence in Iraq. Iranian electricity is already imported into many Iraqi municipalities via high-tension power lines. Iranian construction firms do a lot of business in southern Iraq. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Qods Force is in Iraq aiding and assisting Iraqi forces fighting ISIS. Iranian influence in Baghdad is rumored to be the reason Baghdad refused to send heavy weapons to Iraqi forces defending Ramadi. Note too, the lock-step response by both Iraq and Iran to Ash Carter’s claim — both stated essentially that the US had been AWOL in helping Iraq defend Ramadi.
Ramadi went wrong because the Obama administration decided a nuke deal with Iran was more important than the ISIS threat. They would rather have the “Breaking News” ticker herald Air Force One’s historic touchdown at Tehran-Mehrabad complete with Obama bowing before the Ayatollah than images of US airpower decimating ISIS in Ramadi. Regarding the latter, imagine the impact to ISIS had US airpower been used against their hours long parade of personnel and equipment following their takeover of Ramadi. (We have done this before; during Desert Storm Iraq Highway 8 between Kuwait and Basrah became a killing field for fleeing Iraqi units). As for the former, it would be a meaningless legacy moment and one of many for a President diffident and dithering all these years in office.